Compliance is a scary word for many companies. It creates ideas that companies must delicately walk a safety tightrope, or one slip-up or incident can drop companies into boiling pot of OSHA violations and fines. But compliance doesn’t need to be a scary word around the jobsite or office. There are a number of ways companies can bolster their efforts to ensure they stay on the compliant side of OSHA standards.
Take the fear out of safety compliance by following these simple ways to be proactive and utilize resources when necessary.
Establish the Ground Rules for Safety
Employers should have a safety manual with established safety rules and regulations that is distributed and available to all employees. And the company’s rules should closely align with the standards set by OSHA in their regulations. This makes it easier for a company to remain compliant as the rules leadership expects and enforces will already meet or exceed the standards set by OSHA for their industry, job, and/or equipment.
It’s important that this safety manual be kept as up to date as possible. Setting and forgetting the standards in the safety manual can lead to situations where OSHA standards are updated and suddenly the company is no longer compliant with the updated regulations.
Encourage Workers to Speak Up
Leadership’s eyes cannot be on every process all the time. There are points where single actions or incidents will happen out of management’s sight. But that doesn’t mean these moments go completely unnoticed.
Encouraging workers to speak freely about concerns without fear of retaliation or judgement empowers workers to speak up when they notice something amiss. This provides employers with peace of mind as it establishes a relationship of communication and trust between the front-line and leadership. Seeking out employee feedback and acting on what workers share shows that the whole company is working together to work safely.
Keep Detailed Records
OSHA requires that employers keep records on specific incidents, including:
- Any work-related fatality.
- Any work-related injury or illness that results in loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work, or transfer to another job.
- Any work-related injury or illness requiring medical treatment beyond first aid.
- Any work-related diagnosed case of cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractured or cracked bones or teeth, and punctured eardrums.
- There are also special recording criteria for work-related cases involving: needlesticks and sharps injuries; medical removal; hearing loss; and tuberculosis.
But there are additional records that employers should maintain that help boost safety initiatives and goals or that are industry-specific. These include safety training logs, employee certifications, internal audits, retraining incidents, and orientation content. The advice for most companies on whether something should be recorded is that it’s better to be safe now than sorry in the future.
Perform Investigations for All Incidents and Near-Misses
Any incident that results in an injury must be investigated and reported per OSHA guidelines. But an incident is worth investigating even if it occurred without an injury, loss of life, or equipment damage.
Thoroughly investigating each incident provides invaluable information on working habits, safety gaps, and job efficiencies to better inform how employers can improve on-site safety. It also shows employees that management is invested in employee safety all the time — and not just when a major incident occurs.
Quality Training Produces Quality Workers
Quality safety training provides the foundation for employees to understand how and why they need to follow OSHA regulations and mitigate risks while working. It’s imperative that employers team with trusted safety professionals to provide safety training. Consistent and accessible safety training that engages workers ensures that regulatory details and compliant work habits are passed along and carried over into the workplace.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Employers shouldn’t feel like they need to tackle understanding and double-checking safety compliance on their own. Especially when partnering with a team of safety experts like the professionals at Amerisafe is possible.
Bring in outside safety professionals to conduct a third-party audit of the material to do what they do best. The ACSS team uncovers insights that may be overlooked by internal teams who are too close to the work while providing guidance on the latest industry standards that should be included in safety policies and practices.
Don’t become overwhelmed by scrutinizing every procedure, role, and record alone. Partner with trusted safety experts to alleviate stress and provide peace of mind that the company is compliant in their work and habits.
Amerisafe Group provides the information and services to help companies develop safety leaders and improve overall safety performance. For more information on how Amerisafe can assist with your businesses’ safety needs, contact an expert today.